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Editor’s Choice: The Best of 2017

This year my family moved houses and prepared to welcome a daughter. Preparing to sell our old house and preparing baby girl’s nursery, we sorted through photos and ticket stubs and trophies and T-shirts that stirred up cherished memories of past conquests and hopeful dreams. We gave thanks to God for answered prayers, wondered why we ever thought some things were so important, and remembered those moments that shaped our life to this turning point we would always remember.

Sifting through old memorabilia and clothing is a little like looking back on more than 1,000 resources planned, produced, and published by our editorial staff and bloggers in 2017. Articles I had nearly forgotten hit me in fresh ways in light of new ministry scenarios. Videos we recorded months ago drew out surprising emotions as if I were watching old home movies featuring friends and family. Interviews filled me with wonder as I appreciated a writer’s gift to make life-changing thoughts so clear and compelling.

This list reflects my choices as editorial director for our best resources from 2017. It’s not exhaustive, but it reflects our exhausting efforts in this tragedy-filled year to serve church leaders in shaping their life, doctrine, and teaching. As explained in The Gospel Coalition’s foundation documents, we pray that God would work in and through us “to renew the contemporary church in the ancient gospel of Christ so that we truly speak and live for him in a way that clearly communicates to our age.” In that spirit I hope you’ll read, watch, listen, and share these cherished mementos from the last year.


Parenting Is Gospel Ministry

By Paul David Tripp

This was the most popular workshop at TGC’s 2017 National Conference, and it’s not hard to see why. Parenting is an avenue of grace to parents and not just to our children.

Why the Reformation Should Make You More catholic

By Fred Sanders

Make you sure you notice the lower-case lettering in the title. Sanders invites us to appreciate the reformers’ work toward a universal church rooted in the gospel.

Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of My Diving Accident

By Joni Eareckson Tada

Let Joni set the course of your life, too, no matter what may come: “God permits what he hates to accomplish what he loves.”

How John Piper’s Seashells Swept Over a Generation

By Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra

I’ve been waiting a long time for someone to tell the story of Passion OneDay 2000. In my lifetime I’ve never seen a single moment or message deliver such a lasting effect. Don’t miss the related but equally compelling and more bizarre story behind Piper’s most famous attack on the prosperity gospel.

Jesus Is Not Your American Patriot

By Ameen Hudson

You might think this statement is so obvious that it doesn’t need to be made. But this article struck a nerve at a time when so many churches seek to wrap the American flag around the cross.

Better Than Your Best Life Now

Interview by Collin Hansen

Contributor Jen Pollock Michel demonstrates in her lucid, luminous answers why you should read her chapter, “Whose Will Be Done? Human Flourishing in the Secular Age,” in Our Secular Age: Ten Years of Reading and Applying Charles Taylor.

Rumors of Adam’s Demise: One More and Counting

Review by Hans Madueme

What more could you want from a book review? Timely, informative, spirited, incisive.

I Was a Pastor Hooked on Porn

By Garrett Kell

If you think Christians write a lot about porn, realize that we’ve yet to scratch the surface on the depths of this problem, which plagues our pastors as much as anyone else.

5 Principles for Disciplining Your Children

By Melissa Kruger

When it comes to the constantly evolving challenge of discipline, listen to experienced mother and math teacher.

Meet the Pro-Life Group Cracking Planned Parenthood’s Favorite Market

By Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra

We read so often in the news about events and trends we despise. So get to know a ministry using creative means to shine light in the darkness and save the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors.

What Does Washington Have to Do with Jerusalem?

By Sen. Ben Sasse

The junior U.S. senator from Nebraska is fond of saying that politics can’t fix what’s wrong with our politics. This talk from TGC’s 2017 National Conference will give you a sense for his rationale. But you’ll really want to dig in to his book, The Vanishing American Adult (read my review).

Why Do Churches Wound Their Pastors?

By Dan Doriani

Do you really want to know what your pastors think? Read this article. If we laypeople learned from this perspective, we would honor our leaders in ways that would clearly communicate the grace of God to them.

5 Principles for University Evangelism

By Tim Keller and Michael Keller

I agree with the Kellers, father and son: “There’s no greater mission field than the university today. Student evangelism has never been more challenged—or more needed.”

Seattle Reboot: Life After Mars Hill

By Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra

Sometimes God delights to bring the greatest good from the most shocking follies. There’s no doubt Mars Hill left behind a trail of wreckage when it closed in 2014. But read in this feature how God raised up other churches and leaders to meet the challenge and need for healing and grace in Seattle.

The god of William Paul Young

Review by Gavin Ortlund

When any dared criticize mega-bestseller The Shack by Young, we were told not to take a work of fiction so seriously. This new book by Young isn’t fiction. And this insightful review lays out the eternal consequences of such unbiblical doctrine.

Her Dying Discipled Me

By Phil Letizia

Some things you just can’t learn when your church plant focuses on attracting the young. After all, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Finding Your Identity in Christ Looks Like Death

By Blair Linne, Trillia Newbell, and Rosaria Butterfield

Identity is the great desire and confusion of our age. Where do we find it? How does it change? What looks to the world like death is actually life for Christians as we put off the old self and sin and put on the new self and Christ (Eph. 4:22-24).

Do We Really Have to Politicize Everything?

By Trevin Wax

So insatiable is the American desire for tribal warfare that no sphere of life can escape from politics. It’s good vs. evil, red vs. blue, in every venue. Why should Christians forsake our hope for the latest outrage cable TV, talk radio, and social media want to sell us?

I Married a Same-Sex Attracted Man. And I Am Blessed.

By Jaclyn S. Parrish

The author didn’t want this testimony to be anonymous. She wanted the story of her marriage told. Listen up, because we have a lot to learn from her perspective: “Without his past sin and present struggle, Sam and I might have plodded through our entire life together and missed the miracle.” Are you missing the miracle in your own life, the place of weakness where God intends to show you his strength?

8 Signs Your Christianity Is Too Comfortable

By Brett McCracken

This article made me uncomfortable. Seems we all want the benefits of community without the reality. But God has a better plan for us in the local church, where he brings together people who share nothing but Jesus in common.

The Life and Times of Redeemer Presbyterian Church

By Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra

As Tim Keller retired as senior pastor of this church he planted 28 years ago, it’s the perfect chance to look back on a remarkable work of God in one of the world’s most dynamic cities. Redeemer’s influence on public interest in Reformed theology and church planting cannot be ignored.

Stop Photobombing Jesus

By Garrett Kell

We’re so eager to follow and serve Jesus that we can easily miss how we turn attention toward ourselves and away from our Savior. Our motives may always be somewhat mixed, but we can grow in godliness as we learn to celebrate God’s work in others.

When Marriage Became About Me, Myself, and I

Review by René Breuel

The purpose and meaning of marriage has changed so much that most people don’t even realize it. But marriage cannot deliver on our modern expectations. The best marriages seek not mutual self-fulfillment but self-giving love and sacrifice.

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